Lynette Mae

Lynette Mae left a small town outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to serve in the US Army at the age of nineteen. After her honorable discharge, she found herself in Florida, diving into a law enforcement career. Although completely challenging and satisfying, being a cop only fueled Lynette’s true passion: Writing. Her life’s rich experiences provide endless inspiration for action-packed stories with plenty of romance. When she’s not serving her community or writing, you can find LM running, weight training, or any number of physical pursuits. For quieter time, she’ll be curled up with a book, or just enjoying the day with her wife and their dogs.

                                                 

                                                 
LM’s first novel, Faithful Service, Silent Hearts was a GCLS finalist in Dramatic Fiction and Debut Author categories. Her follow up, Tactical Pursuit, was honored as a 2012 Lambda Literary Finalist and GCLS Finalist for Dramatic Romance.

Look for LM’s next release, Rebound, coming February 2014 from Sapphire Books.

AJ: What genre(s) do you write in and what drew you to this genre?

LM: I write action/adventure stories with a strong romantic current. What I love about stories is the human component and exploring that spirit inside of us all. We’re all struggling to figure it out and I hope my characters provide readers with a glimpse of themselves in the context of a world that they might not know anything about.

AJ: Tell us a ‘secret’ about you that few people know.

LM: I’m really a big softie at heart.

AJ: Tell us a bit about your book(s).

LM: I have three published books. Faithful Service, Silent Hearts was my debut novel. It’s a story about a woman who served in the army pre-DADT and her struggles to survive in that dangerous world. The story is set amidst the terrorist action of the US Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, so Devon must survive literally and emotionally in the story.

My second novel, Tactical Pursuit, picks up Devon’s story ten years later, after she’s left the Army for a law enforcement career. Just when she thinks she’s finally put her past to rest, a nemesis with a connection to her past surfaces to create a whole new set of challenges and drama.

Rebound is my current release. It’s a bit of a departure from the first two stories. This story unfolds in the world of a professional women’s basketball player. Conner Maguire has it all, until one day the unthinkable happens in the blink of an eye. Rebound is about figuring out what really matters and never giving up.

AJ: Tell us a bit about your main character(s). What makes them unique or interesting?

LM: Devon James is the protagonist in the first two stories. Devon is complicated. In FSSH, she’s young and idealistic, believing that truth and love can conquer all. She discovers otherwise, and has to adjust her outlook in order to find a way to overcome the injuries and disappointments she suffers along the way. In TP, Devon is older and more jaded, but still can’t quite shake her stubborn idealism. Her internal need to be ‘perfect’ is also her greatest flaw, but she doesn’t see that.

Conner Maguire, the protagonist in Rebound, has a good heart. However, she’s grown accustomed to the trappings of fame, and forgotten what’s important. We see her struggle to understand that truth as she struggles to regain control of her life during her rehabilitation process.

AJ: What made you decide to become a writer?

LM: I’ve always written. I can’t honestly say it was a conscious decision. When Devon’s story developed into something real and tangible, I realized that I wanted to share her with the world. That’s when I decided to try to publish, but even if I never published a story, I would still write.

AJ: Where do the your ideas come from?

LM: My ideas come from the world around me. I never know what part of my life will provide the spark or inspiration. Sometimes it’s an actual experience, other times it’s another person, or even an article or story I read.

AJ: What process do you use when writing? Do you work to an outline or plot or do you ‘wing it?’ Have your characters ever surprised you?

LM: My characters always surprise me. If they don’t, then I’m not fully engaged with them. I use a combination of outlining a plot sketch and a free flow of ideas that some folks call pantsing.

AJ: On average, how long does it take you to write a book?

That’s tough, because is totally depends upon my real life commitments at any given time. My wife and I have very hectic and often unpredictable schedules. That results in many interruptions in my writing flow, and can stall the process for weeks or even months. Given all of that, 6-9 months at least, because I don’t write short books, either. ; )

AJ: What is your most heartwarming and/or amusing interaction (in person or in writing) with a fan?

LM: I’ve been incredibly blessed to have two experiences come to mind. An Army sergeant wrote to me just before leaving for her second Middle East tour. Her letter was a note to let me know she read Faithful Service, Silent Hearts, and she thanked me for telling the story of lesbians who have served under the shadow of DADT. That was humbling to know I’d touched her in that way. Last month, I received another email from a reader who is disabled. She told me that Rebound touched her heart and Conner gave her hope to keep trying. It’s hard to put into words how those notes have affected me. I get tears in my eyes thinking about them now.

AJ: I agree with you completely. I think the interaction with fans, and learning how my stories impact them or their lives, is the best part of writing. Getting a letter from a reader always makes my day. Okay, I’d like to switch gears and talk about marketing a bit. Do you find social media an effective marketing tool, and if so, which has been the most effective? Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch, or anything else to promote your book?

LM: Social media is a must. I’m on Goodreads and it’s a great way to interact, but FB groups like LesficREADER have been the best ways I’ve found to make connections with readers. I love that one on one interaction and I believe it enriches the experience for both the reader and author. I also write my own blog and guest on other’s blogs (like yours), which affords other opportunities for interaction. Internet interview shows such as Cocktail Hour, The Liz McMullen Show and Women A’Loud are fantastic avenues to expose more folks to our work. I highly recommend the experience.

AJ: Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

LM: I haven’t seen anything that I could characterize as an “immediate” impact. For me, it’s a combination of the above factors, plus trying anything new, that has steadily built a reader base. I know that I’ve gained a few readers off the top of my head that won one of my novels, and have since become regular readers of my work. Yeah, it can work.

AJ: Like you, I haven’t found that any one thing works better than another. Some days I see spikes in sales when I’ve done nothing to warrant any increased interest. It’s a puzzle to me for sure. It’s why I like to ask the question of other authors to see if they’ve made any reason out of it.

AJ: What advice would you give to your younger self?

LM: Don’t worry so much about everything. There’s a something and a nothing and almost everything is nothing.

AJ: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

LM: After numerous incarnations of Devon’s story, I submitted a very flawed and different version of Faithful Service, Silent Hearts to a fan fiction site that also allowed original work. It did okay there, and gave me the courage to try submitting to a publisher. Of course, I crashed and burned on my first couple of attempts. After I worked through the disappointment and “I suck” phase, I dug in and decided I’d better start learning the craft of writing. It’s a journey I’ve been on ever since. Luckily, after participating in the mentor program at GCLS, I was able to rework the story into something publishable.

AJ: I did the mentor program too. I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about learning her craft. Getting input from someone who has been there and done that is an invaluable experience.

AJ: If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you’d change?

LM: Lots of things. J Mostly, I’d slow down and learn a bit more before jumping into the deep end of the pool.

AJ: Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

LM: I have a few stories still waiting in the wings, hoping to see the light of day. We’ll see what happens.

AJ: Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

I’ve got a couple of projects in the works. One is another police-based action adventure and the other is a historical fiction work that I’m truly excited about.

AJ: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

LM: My first two books were drawn from experiences I’d lived or observed. I took the most interesting (I think) aspects of those experiences and added fictional characters to the events. Then I let the characters run free and that’s when the best of the stories began to emerge.

AJ: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

LM: My favorite chapters are always the moments of the highest drama in my stories. Devon witnessing the Marine barracks explosion and the horrific aftermath of the search and rescue in Faithful Service. Jessie’s traffic stop and the SWAT response to rescue her in Tactical Pursuit. Conner’s injury scene and her meltdown the first time she tries playing wheelchair basketball. Those moments where we get to see the characters at their most vulnerable, but still witnessing them rise above it, are the scenes I most love to write.

AJ: How did you come up with the title?

LM: My current WIP’s are untitled as of yet. Rebound is a play on words tying the basketball component to Conner and Shawn’s recovery.

AJ: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Nope. AJ I thank you for this opportunity.

AJ: Thank you for your time and your thoughtful responses.

 

Contact Lynette Mae
Author of "Rebound", now available
"Tactical Pursuit", 2013 Lambda Award Finalist and GCLS Finalist
and "Faithful Service, Silent Hearts", 2012 GCLS finalist


http://www.lynettemae.com
lm@lynettemae.com
http://www.facebook.com/lynette.mae

Find Lynette's books here on Amazon.

                       


© JEN 2014